Spoilers follow ...
- Haunt review by NP
I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. When the accompanying blurb tells of a family that moves into a house with a frightening past, fears arise of a certain degree of predictability and series of events that have been used time and time again.
In all honesty, ‘Haunt’ doesn’t exactly push the envelope to escape the limitations of the format, but what it does, it does well. The family are fine, intelligent and believable. The story, however, belongs to Evan, the son, and Sam, the girl he finds alone in the woods nearby. Harrison Gilbertson and Liana Liberato are attractive, appealing leads. Their prominence does however ensure other family members appear under-written. The youngest daughter Anita (Ella Harris), for example, shows signs of spectral communication with whatever presence is in the house, but this comes to nothing. Eldest daughter sensible Sarah (Daniella C. Ryan) is largely superfluous.
A crystal radio is used to perform a séance. This might be the most effective part of the story. When static-fuzzed voices and noises begin coming through this vintage machinery, the effects are chilling.
Other than that, ‘Haunt’ is a slow-burning, often character-based story that hots up towards the end, providing an unexpected climax.
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